Wonder Woman by Greg Rucka Vol. 1
Collection: Wonder Woman: The Hiketeia and Wonder Woman #195-205 © 2002-2004
Publisher: DC Comics © 2016
Writer: Greg Rucka
Pencillers: Drew Johnson, J.G. Jones, Shane Davis, Stephen Sadowski
Inkers: Ray Snyder, Wade von Grawbadger, Andrew Currie
Colorists: Richard Horie, Tanya Horie, Dave Stewart, Trish Mulvihill
Letterer: Todd Klein
Collection Cover Art: J.G. Jones
Wonder Woman created by: William Moulton Marston
Greg Rucka is certainly one of the best comic book writers and one of his strengths is writing solid, strong and compelling female characters like Batwoman or in this case – Wonder Woman! One of the best things in this collection is the Hiketeia story which includes the Dark Knight detective and then 11 issues for an entire Wonder Woman arc. Hence, this collection is jam packed with material. Rucka truly creates a very compassionate Wonder Woman but not in the sense of a doting mother. The Hiketeia story is truly fascinating and it locks in with Grecian roots that many people do not know about, such as what is Hiketeia? Basically, someone places themselves under the protection of another at all costs. What makes this stronger is that the person asking for protection is questionable and female. Hence, it goes back to her roots for women’s rights and feminism. Meanwhile, the young girl under Wonder Woman protection is wanted… by Batman! Even as a die-hard Batman fan I will say Batman comes off as unlikeable jerk. The story leaves one almost split where one is happy to see how Wonder Woman does not operate in a completely black and white world, where Batman does here. In the end, even Batman fans will find themselves booing Batman.
The complete arc follows Wonder Woman and her embassy. She releases a new book full of private thoughts, ideas and reflections on a broad range of topics and issues. The book is a success and very political! In fact, it is a hot topic for debate. Her embassy does all to uphold her and the book and continue with the tour across America. This is quite a new original and clever conflict written for Diana. Never have we seen anything like this for a character, where they actually share private thoughts to the public. Plus, it never occurred to me Wonder Woman would be so liberal for lack of a better term. It is safe to say most of do not conjure the possibilities of comic book characters’ political leanings, but this one does and makes sense. I could honestly picture a parent’s group here today being crossed with Wonder Woman. However, given the compassionate Wonder Woman that Rucka has constructed along with these very liberal idea she has creates something of a conundrum of a character. Why does she exist? If she speaks for peace then why is there so much battle and violence? Her view points are not in question, but it seems as if Rucka has turned her into Jesus or something, just the perfect, ideal person of every single note. Simultaneously, there are threats coming from people within Wonder Woman’s rogues from Dr. Veronica Cale who almost reminds me of Zack Snyder’s Lex Luthor, slightly. Rucka creates an interesting counter to Wonder Woman with a villain still strongly feminine but in different way, avenues and taking pride in it. Rucka has certainly done a good job in actually using the ambassador role of Wonder Woman. Ever since the beginning Wonder Woman was sent as an ambassador from Themisycra and that was it. If anything, it was just a title of ambassador. She did nothing with it or should I note prior writers did nothing with it! It shows how busy of life she has and gives her a new supporting cast, which creates for new and invigorating story telling. In return, it bogs the story down a bit as it feels this new supporting cast of white-collar workers and paper pushers take up a decent chunk of time, more so than her Amazon sisters. Thus, it makes for a somewhat dull supporting cast after a while. The character themselves are OK, but their jobs not so much.
Greg Rucka is blessed with great artists like J.G. Jones’ photorealistic approach in the Hiketeia. He produces great, detailed and immersive environments and backgrounds. The setting for each panel is not taken for granted with scant detail and simple coloring. Jones especially draws great compelling night time streets. I think he should draw some noir stuff sometime. Jones leaves me conflicted over his renderings of Wonder Woman and Batman, as they look like regular people in costumes. It makes them very human and grounded, yet the fan boy in me cries for more extravagance. Drew Johnson and the other handle the rest and honestly I never noticed this. I had assumed Drew Jones did all of it, but this means they capture on Drew Johnson’s style and kept consistency with simple pencils, and beautiful but a subtly muscular and fit Wonder Woman. All of the line and design work, along with the backgrounds makes this feel like a Wonder Woman of the 21st century!
This collection comes packed with sketches, cover variants and a few articles lifted from this continuity on things such as Diana and her book. This additional material further justifies this books $30 price tag I’d argue, since you already have a full 11 issue arc and more!